An offhand comment in the bedroom was the last straw for Ben*.
"That's a bit funny-looking," his date said, staring at his chest.
Twenty-four-year-old Ben had hated his chest since developing excess breast tissue in his mid-teens.
His breasts were smaller than an A-cup, but bigger than what was expected for the average man, he said.
The Christchurch builder had no idea why it had happened and had tried exercising more and losing weight to get rid of it.
"I wasn't overweight. I'm very healthy. I even got down to 6 per cent body fat … but nothing really helped."
He did not go swimming often and was careful about what he wore.
"It's more mental than anything else. You would see that you were different for a start."
Most people did not seem to notice, but he did get the "occasional look" and was sometimes teased by male friends.
It was the comment that his chest was "a bit funny-looking" that really stung though.
"It was embarrassing," he said.
He inquired about breast reduction surgery and spent two years saving up for the $10,000 procedure.
He underwent the surgery a few weeks ago, telling his boss he had to take a week off work because of an injury.
Although his body was still healing physically, he already felt "more confident" about himself.
"I'm kicking myself that I didn't get it done sooner. It was money well spent."
He had not told anyone he had had a breast reduction though, including his mother and sisters.
"It's not really something I would have talked about with other people. It's a bit of a taboo subject."
He wished it was something people could talk about openly, but did not want to be named publicly.
* Name has been changed.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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